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Saturday, January 14, 2012

The perils of beauty

After 38 years I finally quit biting my nails, and decided that as a reward I would start taking myself to a salon to get them properly maintained. I also discovered the joys of getting a pedicure. What I did not count on was how such cute, sweet, petite little Asian girls could be so Nazi-like. I think my girls are Vietnamese, but I'm really not sure. What I do know is that I can't understand a word they're saying most of the time.

The first time I went in for a manicure, before I quite biting my nails, the girl, who has since become my regular caretaker, looked at my hands and said, "You bite nails?". I said "Yes, I do." Sigh - here it comes. What I did not expect was for her to slap my hand and say, "I fix - you don't bite! You get germs!" Okay.....

A few weeks later, I went in for a day with the girls to get a pedicure. I have the worst, most horrible cracked heels ever - seriously, I could stick a coin in the cracks in my heels. I'm relaxed, back massager going, feet soaking, visiting with my friend. My girl, Jana, comes to get started on my feet. At this point I also would mention to you that I only have two toenails on each foot because they were removed when I was a teenager. First thing Jana asks me, rather accusingly, is "Where your toenails?" Like I removed them before I got there just to mess with her. So I explained. She said, "No problem, I paint them back on." Which I thought was funny. Until she looked at my heels. "Look at heels!" she said. I know, I know. Then SHE SLAPPED MY FOOT and said "I fix - you wear shoes!" Then she mumbled something which I am certain was duragatory to the girl next to her while she grabbed a razor and went to work. Probably something along the lines of "I don't get paid enough to deal with this crap". That was my interpretation, anyway.

So we establish a rapport, my nails grow out and are pretty and she's very proud of me and tells me how pretty they look, and I'm feeling pretty good about myself. She oohs and aahs and says they grow nice and fast. She says "You like length?" I said, yeah, the length was good. She says "No. You look like dragon!" Snip! AH!!! Ok, I'm back to business length. "See? Much better." She says. I'm going back in today, because they've grown back out and I'm not letting her anywhere near me with the clippers this time.

But the best so far, and my last visit, was for another pedicure. I always shave my legs before I go in because they do a leg massage, and I figure it's the polite thing to do. So she gets started and she says, "Ohhh, you shave legs for boy tonight?" I said, No, I shaved them for you. She says, "Oh. That so sad...."

Tell me about it, sister.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Why I Won't Book Travel for Family

When I meet people and they ask me what I do for a living, I tell them I am a travel agent and then quickly point out that I only do business travel for corporations, in order to prevent them from immediately saying "Really? Where is the best warm place I can go this winter that won't cost me anything?". Because the answer to that question is always "Hell" and then the conversation gets awkward.

My family, however, knows that I am in fact capable of booking personal travel, and in times of crisis, I have offered to do so. My father needs a nonstop flight to Phoenix? No problem. Done and done. Family has an emergency and needs a cost comparison on flying versus driving? Piece of cake. My mother needs a hotel? Hang up the phone, change your number and your name and move out of state.

The first and only time I ever attempted to book travel for my mother, she wanted a hotel in Washington D.C. That would take a dog. That had a restaraunt. And a pool. And was within walking distance to everything. And wasn't in a ghetto. For under 100.00 a night. In other words, FantasyLand. Leave the airport, take a right at the Rainbow and a left at the unicorn and there's your hotel. But I tried. For 4 days I searched hotels. I looked for places that would give discounts, hotels that had most if not all of her requirements. Someplace quiet and scenic that was somehow located right in the middle of everything she wanted to see, where she wouldn't get mugged on her way to the ice machine. And when finally I thought I hit the jackpot, I called her and told her what I had. At which point she said, "Oh, nevermind. I already booked something online." I vowed right then I would never book travel for her again.

Fast forward a few years and there is a family emergency and she needs to fly. Mind you, she is online looking at the flights when she calls me. She says "it's going to cost me 300 and something dollars for this flight!" I said, "That's a great price! Book it." She says, "But I thought it was only 182.00 and then I saw I didn't have a return." One eighty two times two...yes, that is 300 and something. Good price. Book it.

"I want to go business class. Can I wear a sweater and slacks?"
You can wear whatever you want, Mom.
"Well, when you travel business you said you have to dress up."
Mom, when I travel FOR business I have to dress up because I am representing my company. You are representing the public. You can wear a tube top and Daisy Dukes if you want to.
"Well, I wouldn't do THAT. What size can my luggage be?"
Same size it always was. Or check it. You don't have to pay for it with Southwest.
"But then I have to go to baggage claim in Vegas"
Then take carry on. Make sure all your liquids are in 4oz bottles.
"What about my hairspray? It's in a pump bottle."
Transfer it to a 4oz bottle. Make sure you have your pills in their bottles.
"But they're in my pill box so I know which ones to take each day."
Why don't you call Southwest to book your flight and you can ask them about your pills. Do you qualify for a senior rate? You sound like you'd quallfy...
"The website says age 65."
Then you don't qualify. CALL Southwest and book your flights. They'll tell you.
"Well, I'd rather deal with a live person."
?????? Uh huh. Call them. (God, I hope she gets someone who speaks English)
"But then I can't check in from home."
Yes, you can.
"But I won't be booking online."
They'll give you a confirmation number and tell you how to check in. CALL THEM!
"Well, I should get this booked soon."
Yes, you should. Right now in fact. Call the airline. Dear God, PLEASE call the airline.
"Do they still have drink service? I'd like something to drink."
I don't know anymore. Buy a soda at the airport.
"Oh, it says if I go business I get a premium drink!"
Then they have drink service. That's an alcoholic beverage.
"I just want a 7-Up."
Fine. Have a 7-Up.
"Unless I don't take my Xanax. Then maybe I can have a drink instead."
For Heavens Sake! Have both! (I know I'd like a Xanax and drink right now)
"What about my seats? Will they give me an aisle seat?"
"Ok, well maybe I'll call them to book this."
Oh, thank God.

Now, where is MY Xanax?